Three and four-star hotels will be turned into ‘quarantine centres’ following the permission given by Islamabad High Court (IHC). In these hotels, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has planned to keep the coronavirus patients.
NDMA gave a proposal to the government to convert major hotels in different cities across Pakistan into quarantine centers, last month. Then later onwards with the consent of the federal government, directives were issued by NDMA to the management of different hotels on March 16 and March 28, to vacate the premises for the purpose.
However, three-star Hotel Margalla challenged NDMA’s order to vacate the hotels via Advocate Sikandar Bashir Mohmand.
It was observed by the IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah that the federal government and NDMA is taking measures primarily to safeguard the public at large. The petitioner said that NDMA is not authorized to take such decisions.
The petitioner asked, “Why does the government not use the prime minister’s home instead?”.
Justice Minallah, in response to the petitioner, said, “The government is taking measures for the protection of its people. How can the court interfere then? When it comes to protecting the people, the government can even use my home.”
The petitioner’s lawyer kept arguing but couldn’t change the court’s decision.
Justice Minallah issued the written order stating: “The learned counsel, despite his able assistance, was not able to satisfy this court that the jurisdiction under Article 199 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 ought to be exercised in the prevailing exceptional circumstances.
“It is noted that the said jurisdiction is discretionary in nature. It is in the public interest not to exercise the jurisdiction because it will inevitably amount to interference with the measures taken by the Authority and the Federal Government to meet the challenges that have arisen due to the extraordinary circumstances.
“It cannot be ruled out that interference by this Court with the decisions of the Authority and the Federal Government may risk jeopardizing the interests of the public at large and their fundamental rights”
“This Court is, therefore, satisfied that restraint ought to be exercised. In view of the above, this Court is not inclined to exercise its jurisdiction under Article 199 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 and, therefore, this petition is accordingly dismissed.”